Category: Construction

Using Woolly Nylon Thread

I go against tradition when I serge bra seams. The “rules” are to either press the seams open and leave raw (if the fabric doesn’t fray), press the seams to one side and topstitch (again, if the fabric doesn’t fray), or to cover the seam allowances with a tape like 15 denier nylon bias-cut (scroll halfway down the page). Unless it’s a design detail like reverse hong kong binding, I don’t like raw raw edges on the inside or the outside of a garment. So, I wasn’t a fan of rule number one or two. Even on a straight seam, it can be difficult to sew an even length away from the seam. Can you imagine the difficultly of trying to attach tape neatly over a cross cup seam? Sure, with some practice and glue (to hold the tape in place), I’d get the hang of it over time. It’s the finish most commonly used in RTW. But if there’s an easier method, why not save myself the trouble? Enter the overlock stitch, or serge. Because of my cup size, an A or a B, I don’t stabilize the cups with a non stretch fabric like tricot. I usually lined cups with a classic or light weight power net or micro mesh. So an overlock stitch, which naturally stretches, makes it suitable as well as easy finish for my bras. Normally, I use 100% polyester cone threads for serging. I choose it over 100% cotton because it has more give. I haven’t had a problem, but I’ve read that woolly nylon thread is a better choice for stretch fabrics. As the name suggests, woolly nylon is made from nylon fibers, which results in a thread that stretches and recovers, provides more coverage and has a softer touch. The increased coverage also makes it ideal for for rolled hems. It’s usually used in one or both…

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tags: bra making, Construction, knits, lingerie, sewing tools Comments: 15

Weekend: Tried and True Patterns

Quick question for all you sewers. How many times does it take to make a garment before its pattern becomes tried and true (TNT)? I’m sure it varies from person to person and garment to garment, but I asking for an approximate. Two? Three? Five? It’s along the same lines as how long does it take for someone to master a skill? Some say 2 years while others say 10 years. Adding to this, once it becomes TNT, do you push it further or leave it as is? This has been going through my mind as I work on a few “TNT” bra patterns. Should I take it to the next step (adding different trims, using different techniques) or move on?

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tags: Construction, Pattern Making, Weekend Comments: 11

What i Made: Nina Warner

I’m in a stage in my bra making where I’m sewing as many styles before finding my own. I started with Bra Makers Pin Up Girls, Orange Lingerie’s Malborough as well as my own, self-drafted bra. All were underwired and being the “traditional” silhouette, gave me a great set of foundation skills. I recently moved to soft bras such as Cloth Habit’s Watson and Merckwaerdigh BSH10. Between the two – soft and underwire – I wear soft most often and I see myself going in this direction. Since I’m small chested, I don’t need the support of underwires. I also like how brands such as Negative Underwear, Fortnight Lingerie and Elma Shop are proving that underwear doesn’t have to be va-va voom. Simple and natural is beautiful. Soft bras also celebrate who I am, rather than “pushing” me into something I’m not. I’ve got small boobs. So did Audrey Hepburn. Because making lingerie involves a lot of little bits and bobs, I broke it down to make it easier to follow. Let me know if you like this format! Overview: A halter, soft bra with a racerback. It is an evolution of the Kitri Bra from Elma Shop, which I made last year. It features princess seams, a bottom band with scalloped lace and ¾” straps. Fabric: Center front and side front: stretch, scalloped lace (gifted from Katy & Laney), matte jersey (Jack B. Fabrics) underlined with power net (Fleishman Fabrics). Used temporary spray adhesive to spray baste fabrics together. Back band: stretch scalloped lace (gifted from Katy & Laney) underlined with a power net (Fleishman Fabrics) Used temporary spray adhesive to spray baste fabrics together. Matte jersey is a smooth fabric that is wrinkle resistant and fast-drying. It is very versatile and I’ve mostly seen it in evening wear and high end t-shirts. Normally, I wouldn’t think to use…

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tags: bra making, Construction, lingerie Comments: 15

What i Made: Ava Geraldine

Confession. This was supposed to be my holiday skirt. Oops! Time flies and so does the holidays. So, new year, new you, new skirt. No one mention that it’s February, okay? Before I get to the details, I’ll preface with this is an exciting post. It’s my first me-made as a Bernina Ambassador! So, I’ll give you an overview of the skirt, but if you want to learn the particular details, like how I constructed the waistband, you’ll have to head on over to their blog for the tutorial. In December, I went on a quest to live a semi-handmade holiday by crafting at least a portion of my gifts. Not all gifts because the holidays are chaotic and crafting everything from scratch was unrealistic for my schedule. I believe that gifts don’t have to be tangible. An experience such as a trip to Europe as well as knowledge such as a sewing lesson can be gifts too. For two women I work with, this was my gift to them. Sara and Ashley always wanted to learn to sew, and after work on two occasions, I helped them cut and sew a skirt to wear to our company’s holiday party. I was originally part of that equation, but I dropped out when 85% of the way through it, I tried it on and it didn’t fit over my hips. At some point, I did something that I still can’t remember, which made it too tight for my lower half. Oh well! You live, you learn, and you make more garments! Going into this project, my goal was to sew the best waistband. About a year ago, I watched a video by Susan Khalje where she demonstrated how to “build a better waistband.” Around that same time, Heather commented that a proper waistband acts like a belt –…

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tags: Construction Comments: 7

Bra Making with Madalynne Recap

I realized many things at my first bra making workshop last weekend, one being how willing women are to undress and show off their self-stitched bras in front of other women they just met. It happened! Maybe it was their excitement to have completed a bra or maybe it was being around other women who were as enthusiastic about sewing. Who knows? There were many other light bulb moments that day, but the most potent, inspirational, you could even say emotional takeaway was this – if you create an environment centered around giving back, which I think the sewing community does ver well, people will come out to support you tenfold. Throughout planning, Anna said there would be a few surprises. She wasn’t lying. When I arrived at the venue the night before, Anna told me that my favorite Philly vendors – a beauty salon, a calligraphy, two bakers and more – were supporting the workshop with their skills, services and products. It meant a lot that these people helped me make this giant leap. Another testament of the power of our community goes back to the first sentence. By the end of the workshop, the 9 ladies were chatting with each other as if they had been friends for ages. The day started at 9:00 AM with light breakfast – cinnamon crumb bread, banana nut bread, strawberry and blueberry salad, yogurt parfait, orange juice and coffee. After a quick meet and greet and introduction, we started making bras by cutting out our pattern and assembling the cups. Lunch quickly crept up and before we knew it, it was time to eat. We sat together, chatting while enjoying a vegan super food salad (broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale chicory, cranberries, pumpkin seeds), ham and gruyere squares, quiche, mushroom tarts, tabbouleh…

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tags: bra making, Construction, lingerie, teaching, Weekend Comments: 19